Genome Sequencing Has its Limits

April 3, 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Timothy Rebbeck, PhD, professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and director of the Center for Genetics and Complex Traits, is quoted in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about new research examining the benefits and limitations of whole genome sequencing as a way to predict a person's risk of certain diseases. Rebbeck said melanoma is an example of a disease for which the testing would likely be of limited value. While there are genes that convey higher risk for the disease, many such people can typically easily determine they are at increased risk for the disease even without the expensive test: People with red hair, freckles and who burn easy already know they should avoid the sun, he said. The new research, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting this week, was also covered by MedPage Today. "We like to think that genetics is going to provide us with some kind of magic bullet that's going to solve a lot of problems. What we're learning, from recent history and from papers like this one, is that genetics might not be a magical cure-all for all things," Rebbeck said... Read More